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View Full Version : New to Mac - Setting up Mac Pro - Configuration Ideas?




spokaneman
Nov 12, 2008, 07:46 PM
I'm making the PC to Mac switch. (Yay!)

I have purchased all the following and now I am needing help on setting up and configuring. Sorry if my questions seem dumb or obvious.

Here's what I have:

Mac Pro with two 3.2ghz processors.
10 GB memory (upgraded from OWC)
Original 500 GB hard drive (not sure of make)
WD Velociraptor 300GB HD-SATA 10K RPM
Caviar Black 1TB 7200RPM w/32MB Cache 3Gb/s
RocketRAID 2640X4 PCI-Express x4 SAS RAID Controller

I use my machine mainly for imaging (professional photographer) and will be running Photoshop CS4 and Lightroom 2. I am wanting to run a scratch drive for Photoshop (and just because I can say it doesn't mean I know how to set it up). and I'm wanting optimal performance with a back-up drive.

(I can also return any of the hardware I bought, if I've made a terrible mistake).

So. How should I configure my machine? I'm really a newbie at this, so I'm not even sure which steps should go first (in terms of installing the RAID or drive). But what kind of set-up makes the most sense, and how can I best utilize my drives?

I realize there are probably many different ways to configure this, but I was wondering what advice any of you expert users would have.

Thank you very much for your help. I appreciate all the advice I can get.



richard.mac
Nov 12, 2008, 07:57 PM
im not sure about RAID but Samsung Spinpoint or WD Caviar will be very good scratch drives and good backup drives if you plan on using an internal drive for backups.

if you want to use an external hard drive for backups i can recommend G-Technology or OWC. if you want external RAID or just a single backup drive they have very good choices and will match your Mac Pro's case as well! you can buy just the case and a hard drive elsewhere to save money. and on that note dont buy hard drives for your Mac Pro from Apple as they tend to be more expensive.

tjwaido
Nov 13, 2008, 01:46 AM
Congrats on making the switch. I myself take professional photos and video. I am waiting to buy a new MacPro, CS4 and Lightroom. I am currently using a PowerMac G5, CS2 and Aperture 2.

I have two internal WD 500GB (1TB Total) that I have partitioned to Macintosh HD (150 GB), Aperture (200 GB), Documents (50 GB), iPhoto (200 GB), iTunes (150 GB) and some other documents and business partitions. I like to do this so all my music, photos, documents, etc. are all in their own partition and the files are not getting fragmented together, which keeps my computer running faster and smoother. In each programs' preferences I have chosen where the files are kept. For example, I have set the Aperture's Library Location to the Aperture Partition I have created at 200 GB. Same goes for iPhoto and iTunes. If you shoot RAW, you can set the Aperture Partition larger so you don't run out of space. I am currently running low on space for my Aperture Library. Once the partitions are set, you cannot change the partition sizes without erasing the drive, so you must first create a back-up of your data or create an image of the drive onto an external hard drive or back-up drive. It can be a complicated process, but I did this all through Apple's Disc Utility.

Both my internal drives are backed-up to an external 1TB WD.

If you choose to have a set up like this, I would use your WD Velociraptor as your boot drive (Macintosh HD), where all your applications and system library are kept. 300 GB is quite large for just a boot drive, but you could partition it for iTunes if you wanted. When you open a program, Aperture for instance, the computer will run the ap from the boot drive, but the files are kept and referenced from the partition. I am assuming Lightroom has the ability to select the library location.

I find that partitioning your drives is helpful for running programs and storing files. If all my system library files, applications, photos, music, documents and videos were on one drive that wasn't partitioned, all these files would eventually be fragmented together and defragmenting the entire drive would be a hassle. Fragmented files also slow down your system immensely. Just this week I had to defragment my Aperture Library partition because the program was running so slow. After defragmenting the partition, Aperture is running lickity-split. There is no need for me to defragment my iTunes or iPhoto partition because I am not adding, editing or deleting files as often.

Let me know if this sounds like something you are interested in doing. You shouldn't have to reinstall Leopard. It just depends what you have stored on your drives thus far. Email me if interested.

richard.mac
Nov 13, 2008, 02:22 AM
… I have two internal WD 500GB (1TB Total) that I have partitioned to Macintosh HD (150 GB), Aperture (200 GB), Documents (50 GB), iPhoto (200 GB), iTunes (150 GB) and some other documents and business partitions. I like to do this so all my music, photos, documents, etc. are all in their own partition and the files are not getting fragmented together, which keeps my computer running faster and smoother. …

with the technology of hard drives these days and the foundations of OS X being FreeBSD UNIX i dont think a performance gain would be noticed partitioning a hard disk for the boot drive and data for applications. but it certainly wouldnt give a performance loss.

tjwaido
Nov 13, 2008, 10:39 AM
OS X being FreeBSD UNIX i dont think a performance gain would be noticed partitioning a hard disk for the boot drive and data for applications.

This is certainly true, but for my business purposes, I use hundreds upon hundreds of gigabits of storage for video and photos, I have certainly found the benefit of separating my work and files. I have also heard that it is unnecessary to defragment an OS X drive, but once again, I have always noticed a performance boost after defragmenting. I have only needed to defrag my Aperture Partition or Boot Drive once a year. Shooting RAW photos, creates about 20MB size photos, and shooting 30GB of photos at an event is huge. I delete about half, which creates space pockets in the drive, and next time I upload another event, that event fills the available spaces. Repeated over time, project files are scattered all over the drive. For me, Partitions and Defragmenting has been a logical choice and I have enjoyed the benefit. I use iDefrag by Coriolis Systems.

Here are some Apple Links to read about Partitions and Defragmenting:
http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?path=Mac/10.4/en/mh14.html
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1375

nanofrog
Nov 13, 2008, 11:11 AM
With only 2, non identical HDD's, the RR2640X4 won't do you any good. :(

You'd need to acquire multiple drives of the same capacity and type (SATA) in order to build any type of RAID array. To know how to proceed further, you'd need to determine things like capacity requirements, speed, and ideally, the type of RAID array you prefer.

Sorry if this isn't of much help. :(

spokaneman
Nov 13, 2008, 11:49 AM
With only 2, non identical HDD's, the RR2640X4 won't do you any good. :(

You'd need to acquire multiple drives of the same capacity and type (SATA) in order to build any type of RAID array.

Thanks. Yeah, I was actually coming to that conclusion, but thank you for making that clear. So with non identical drives, it's not even possible to do a RAID 0?

So my internal drives will be recognized as separate, regardless. And for data, I can set up one of the hard drives for back-up, without the RAID (Mac has a process for this, no?)

What about thoughts on which drive to have as boot, and which to have as data? I got the Velociraptor because I heard it's screaming fast. Should I use that as the boot, or as a scratch drive? And if I use it as a boot, do I put that in Bay 1 and reinstall the Mac OS onto it?

I haven't actually set anything up yet. No data on the new machine. I'm still using the PC until I know what I want to do with the machine.

pprior
Nov 13, 2008, 12:06 PM
I have an aperture library that is "only" about 300GB. I defragged frequently on my old windows system but never have on mac as was told the OS does not need it due to file system function.

However my aperture performance had been getting horrible (Mac pro 3ghz with 11GB ram and 3870 ATI card) - I rebuilt my library database and now it's quite fast again.

So I'm not so sure it's actual file fragmentation vs. something within Aperture database itself.

I may check into that defrag utility however.

As to the OP, I think that with normal photography use of either LR or photoshop you won't be hitting the swap file much if at all so dedicating any large amount of resources to it is unlikely to benefit much (with 10GB of ram). Why do you want the SAS raid card?

Personally I have observed that photoshop actions are CPU based, then memory and lastly disk. Buy the fastest CPU you can afford, max out the ram (10GB is good) and put a decent disk (the 500 native would be just fine) for your swap partition and I think you'll be in good shape.

I stayed away from the raptors due to noise levels, I used to use all 15K scsi drives in my PC systems and am very familiar with the benefits of high rotational speeds, but for photography it won't make a difference.

The RAID would make more sense for video editing.

nanofrog
Nov 13, 2008, 01:17 PM
Thanks. Yeah, I was actually coming to that conclusion, but thank you for making that clear. So with non identical drives, it's not even possible to do a RAID 0?
Actually, it is possible. But you would get two issues with those specific drives.
1. Reduced overall capacity, as the array is based on the smallest drive capacity. 300GB Velociraptor. So for a 2 drive RAID 0, you would get 600GB before formating.
2. You also lose the speed the Velociraptor can offer. The overall speed would be affected by the slowest drive in the array. 500GB in this case. The throughput would be that of the 500GB * 2. Assuming the drive could deliver something like 75MB/s, you would get 150MB/s in a 2 drive RAID 0 array.

Sacrifices both ways, and not worth it when you consider the potential of the Velociraptor is wasted, as well as 200GB.
So my internal drives will be recognized as separate, regardless. And for data, I can set up one of the hard drives for back-up, without the RAID (Mac has a process for this, no?)
If you use 2 arrays of 2 drives, where will the backup drive come from?
External? Or mounted in the optical bay? :confused:
What about thoughts on which drive to have as boot, and which to have as data? I got the Velociraptor because I heard it's screaming fast. Should I use that as the boot, or as a scratch drive? And if I use it as a boot, do I put that in Bay 1 and reinstall the Mac OS onto it?
I'd use the Velociraptor as the boot drive. The 500GB as a data or RAID drive, if you do decide to keep the RR2640X4, and get another drive/s.
I haven't actually set anything up yet. No data on the new machine. I'm still using the PC until I know what I want to do with the machine.
:cool:
Planning is a good thing. :D

spokaneman
Nov 13, 2008, 07:15 PM
Yeah, that makes sense. So I'll return the RAID and just rely on the speed of the drives, partitions, and the RAM for performance. I can, if need be, throw in another hard drive in the 4th bay for backup. Subtracting the RAID makes things much simpler.

So I take out the original 500 GB, and put the Velociraptor in Bay 1--doesn't matter which goes in bay 2 or 3, correct? And then I re-install the Mac OS and software onto the Velociraptor. Is that right?

nanofrog
Nov 13, 2008, 09:05 PM
So I take out the original 500 GB, and put the Velociraptor in Bay 1--doesn't matter which goes in bay 2 or 3, correct? And then I re-install the Mac OS and software onto the Velociraptor. Is that right?
1. Yes. :) The 500GB can go in any other sled.

2. Yes, that will work. :)

You may also copy the existing drive (500GB) contents to the Velociraptor (sled 2-4), and swap it to sled 1 when completed. Disk Util or a 3rd party program such as SuperDuper can be used.

Either method will work, so go with what makes you comfortable. :)

Good luck. :D

pprior
Nov 13, 2008, 09:16 PM
Yeah, that makes sense. So I'll return the RAID and just rely on the speed of the drives, partitions, and the RAM for performance. I can, if need be, throw in another hard drive in the 4th bay for backup. Subtracting the RAID makes things much simpler.

So I take out the original 500 GB, and put the Velociraptor in Bay 1--doesn't matter which goes in bay 2 or 3, correct? And then I re-install the Mac OS and software onto the Velociraptor. Is that right?

You don't need to physically move the drive - you can select which drive to boot via disk utilities. If it makes your sense of order in the universe happy, you can move them, but no reason to do so. Any drive bay can boot. Just give the drive names you can remember :)

All you'll have to do is clone the drive, you won't have to reinstall anything. Super-duper does a great job of this or I think you can actually do it via leopard disk utilities as well.

Rizvi1
Nov 13, 2008, 11:13 PM
This is interesting, I had never thought about partitioning drives for various purposes.

richard.mac
Nov 14, 2008, 06:01 AM
will the Velociraptor even fit into the Mac Pro by itself? isnt there an adapter we should be alluding to the OP?

pprior
Nov 14, 2008, 06:58 AM
There are several versions of the drive - some fit, some do not. Good point to make sure you get the right one.

Personally I never partition a drive, it just means you'll be using some of the inner drive space earlier (slower performance).

Semiopaque
Nov 14, 2008, 01:14 PM
Regarding the scratch drive in his setup here: where would that go? On the Velociraptor with everything else, on its own partition on the Velociraptor? Could also partition the 500GB and 1TB with small, equal size primary partitions and put them in a striped set for scratch and use the balance on those drives for general storage.

I'm not really sure which would be fastest, but I have noticed some improvements in performance on my G4 with striped scratch drives. Not sure on my Mac Pro yet as I just put Photoshop on it last night.

nanofrog
Nov 14, 2008, 01:50 PM
Regarding the scratch drive in his setup here: where would that go? On the Velociraptor with everything else, on its own partition on the Velociraptor? Could also partition the 500GB and 1TB with small, equal size primary partitions and put them in a striped set for scratch and use the balance on those drives for general storage.

I'm not really sure which would be fastest, but I have noticed some improvements in performance on my G4 with striped scratch drives. Not sure on my Mac Pro yet as I just put Photoshop on it last night.
I wouldn't put it on the Velociraptor, as the drive would be doing it all.

A software stripe would be a good idea for inexpensive speed, particularly as the data is temporary. Assuming of course that the drives are available. ;)

spokaneman
Nov 14, 2008, 03:18 PM
will the Velociraptor even fit into the Mac Pro by itself?

Right, I made sure to get the right one.

I wouldn't put it on the Velociraptor, as the drive would be doing it all.

A software stripe would be a good idea for inexpensive speed, particularly as the data is temporary. Assuming of course that the drives are available. ;)

So, Nanofrog, you'd use the Velociraptor for OS, and a stripe for Photoshop on a separate drive? Is a stripe the same as a partition? Sorry if that's a dumb question.

pprior
Nov 14, 2008, 06:43 PM
You always want your swap/scratch drive to be a =physically= different drive, NOT a partition. A raptor as scratch is complete overkill.

nanofrog
Nov 14, 2008, 08:45 PM
So, Nanofrog, you'd use the Velociraptor for OS, and a stripe for Photoshop on a separate drive? Is a stripe the same as a partition? Sorry if that's a dumb question.
You could do a couple of things.

Velociraptor for OS, a drive for apps, and a separate drive as a scratch disk would be the simplest.

A striped array is not a partition. This is when you distribute the data over multiple drives, and obtain a greater data throughput. A partition just cuts a single drive into multiple pieces in order to separate the information stored.

Does that make sense?